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Are You an Empty Threat Parenter?

July 2nd, 2014     By Boys Town Contributor, Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

Chores, Discipline, Stress

Recently I told my oldest child to do something and they respond with, “or what?” Eek! That is a bad thing to hear as a parent. That is when I thought I might be an empty threat parenter. Its so easy to tell a child that they will have to go to bed at 5:30 if they don’t eat some of their dinner, but am I really going to send them to bed that early? Lets face it, I probably won’t. What about a shower? And those toys I wanted them to pick up? On a similar note, if they don’t pick up their room, am I really going to take all of their furniture out and leave it on the driveway.

It’s fun to see how clever and grandiose we can be with our parenting punishments!, but wouldn’t it be great if we could actually follow thru? Think of the impact that would have on them. I’ve seen many a Facebook post and you tube video of parents following thru with these “major” consequences, and while they crack me up, I am not sure they always send the right message.

The reality is this…if I’m not prepared to follow thru with it, I WILL NOT use it as a threat or potential consequence. My kids will see right through it. Boys Town teaches consistency, as do many other parenting models. While I find it tedious and repetitive, I have to find small consequences and remain consistent with them. I’m sure the reason I hate this so much is similar to the reason my kids do, which is probably why it works.

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